A marathon event organised by a private firm in the temple city on Sunday was a flop as the event organiser could not even choose its winners right. The private organisation from Karangalakudi village did not organise the ‘Madurai Marathon 2014’ properly.
As many of the participants were not informed about the finish-point. The disappointed participants were involved in a quarrel, which needed police intervention to be stopped. Finally, they refunded the registration fees that were collected. As the event was promoted in various ways including local television channels and online, more than 500 people enrolled themselves to be part of it. Even, the marathon themed ‘Run for health’, which was said to be organised for creating awareness about health and fitness, attracted a few athletes from Kenya and Australia.
The online advertisement stated that the 11-kilometre-run would start from Mannar Thirumalai Nayakkar College and end at Race Course Grounds. But, the finish-point was changed later as the police denied permission for it. So they had to choose Madura College as the end-line, a police officer said, adding that it was not communicated about the ‘shortened run’ to the athletes. The organisers were not up to the mark from the beginning of the event, which started at around 7 am. The start was not flagged off properly as many started to run on their own time. Many contestants were running beyond Madura College, said S Sivaprakash, a participant.
There was no medical assistance kept ready to tackle emergency situations. Even the participants were not given drinking water, said T S Manikandan (20), a practising athlete from Thanjavur.
He said he paid ` 500 for online registration. Not only that, he had spent more for accommodation and food to participate in it. But, now it has all gone to waste, he added.
When the athletes reached the finish line, there was nobody to pick the winners. As they did not video-graph the finish, they could not choose the top three winners, who were supposed to get a prize money of ` 20,000, `15,000 and `10,000, respectively, said A Kasi Viswanathan, another participant.
Reacting to the issue, the organiser M Rajaprakash said as it was first time they conducted it, they could not execute it well. S Murugan, District Sports Officer, said nowadays many private firms were conducting such events to make money. They benefit by collecting registration fees and also sponsorship. They have to get proper permission from sports authorities to conduct an event.